Does your space match your brand?

We’ve all experienced that horrible disconnect that happens when a shop or restaurant looks completely different on the inside than the image we got from their ads or messaging. Or what about when a business that you’ve built up in your mind as “sophisticated, classy and cutting-edge” is actually in a sad office park with what looks like Goodwill furniture and bad paneling on the walls?

Your office, store or place of business should reflect your brand promise and the traits you “sell” in your marketing. If you portray your business as playful, innovative and bold, then your offices where you greet clients better portray that. Whether it be through the furniture style, paint colors, artwork or even location, you need to map your brand to the experience customers will have interacting with your space. Many good ad and branding agencies actually have architectural and space planning services to carry the brand through to your location.

This is where folks that think brand is just a logo fall down. If brand is the entire package of reputation, experience and imagery I have in my head, then my experience and perception of the physical space matters. The devil is in the details, as they say.

Bare Escentuals, the mineral makeup company based in San Francisco, was just purchased by Japan’s Shiseido, a high-end makeup line sold in department stores. The brands actually have common core values focused on natural beauty – but with slight variations. I read that if you visit Shiseido’s offices in Japan, you are “greeted by  3 receptionists in matching pink suits who stand up and bow ceremoniously whenever a guest appears. A small Zen garden with spherical plants sits on the executive floor.” They have a very strong image they want to convey that is consistent with the natural beauty and polished sophistication of their brand. Bare Escentuals’ offices in San Franc are more or an organic “mess” according the founder, in line with their natural, carefree beauty brand – people running around in jeans, that sort of thing.

Botom line, if your space welcomes the public (I”m not talking about home offices here, although you can make an argument that you might want to inject some brand elements into that if you can) is should remain consistent with your brand promise and image. Every customer touchpoint matters, especially interacting with your physical surroundings.

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